Vinzenz Pflanz, Sixt: “Willingness to change is key for all companies”
“In the last decade, every part of our lives has been digitised, and this includes mobility,” says Vinzenz Pflanz, Chief Business Officer at Sixt. Mr Pflanz is on the jury for the 2022 Fleet Europe Awards in Dublin, where Sixt sponsors the European Fleet & Mobility Manager of the Year Award. Ahead of the grand gathering of fleet managers, he shared his thoughts on the changing fleet ecosystem and how to achieve efficiency in mobility.
Following a virtual edition in 2020, the Fleet Europe Summit staged a glorious comeback in Brussels last year. The list of attendees for this year’s event in Dublin on 16 and 17 November keeps growing, and it looks like Dublin will overshadow Brussels! If you want to know why, check out the programme and grab one of the remaining tickets.
What’s the top trend in international fleet and mobility management today, and how is Sixt responding to it?
“The top trend is sustainability. It’s on every company’s agenda. Especially in fleet and mobility management, we must find new solutions for a greener footprint. Companies must exchange their ICE cars for EVs, and explore different mobility models for the future.”
“That’s why Sixt has several mobility options in its ‘one-stop shop’ for mobility. Sixt+ Flex, for example, deals with the reluctance of ordering an EV lease car for the next 3 to 5 years and reduces the range anxiety of their employees. Sixt+ Flex is a 12-month subscription that allows the employee to change vehicle type and powertrain during the year, and this completely digitally."
“This way, employees can drive an EV for 48 weeks a year, but when they need the range or the space, they can switch to a different car with another powertrain. They can also pause the contract and give back the car when they don’t need it, to save money and reduce their carbon footprint.”
Why should multinationals look beyond the company car, and combine fleet and mobility in their employee strategy?
“An important first point is the significance of flexibility in our daily lives. To name just one example, many of us have replaced pre-defined radio programmes with a wide variety of podcasts or Spotify playlists, which we can individualise according to our taste, interest and mood. We are now the masters of our own individualised radio stations.”
“Similarly, the mobility needs of employees have changed in recent years, especially if we look at Generation Z. Owning a vehicle is no longer a plus in an urban environment with flexible working hours and locations. Also, studies show that younger generations prefer access to different types of mobility to owning a car. Why? The advantages are obvious: no more cruising for parking spaces in crowded cities, and the ability to switch between mobility options according to need (for example: trains for long distances, electric scooters for the last mile). The result is much more flexibility in everyday life.”
“And then there’s Sixt Unlimited, a product that combines fleet and flexibility for our customers’ employees. The company-car-to-go in the international premium car subscription segment. It offers unlimited mobility in 10 European countries at a monthly, all-inclusive fixed price. It is location-independent, so it’s a flexible alternative to the classic, less flexible company car.”
“Secondly, as I’ve already mentioned, big companies have sustainability goals to meet, often: CO2 neutrality in 2030. Sustainability can only be achieved by replacing company cars with other types of transport. Trains, for example. An average company car used by a single person emits 243.8 grams of CO2 per person kilometre travelled, while average train use emits just 28,6 grams of CO2 per person per kilometre.”
“The third pillar is the digitalisation of everything. In the last decade, along with every part of our lives, mobility has gone completely digital, and many new mobility companies have appeared on the market. This has opened many more possibilities for companies to provide easy-to-use alternatives for their employees, where they can book their end-to-end mobility in one app.”
How does Sixt support the transformation from Fleet to Mobility?
“Our top priority is to keep our customers mobile and offer them products tailored to their needs. That’s why we identified the trend toward flexible mobility solutions early on, and acted on it by introducing services such as Sixt+, our flexible car subscription model. Through innovative strength, willingness to change and willingness to grow, we have transformed from a car rental company into an international mobility service provider.”
“Willingness to change is a key requirement for all companies. Constantly questioning yourself and developing solutions with employees and customers on how to master a certain situation – that is the driving force behind successful entrepreneurship. The key difference from other players in this industry is we never focus on the vehicle as an asset; we focus on the driver and mobility user.”
“In 2019, SIXT developed a new mobility platform to combine different types of mobility in one app. The SIXT app offers ride-hailing services, car-sharing services, micro-mobility, rental cars and trucks, and subscription products. Our vision for SIXT as a mobility provider is that we close all mobility gaps with our own products but also via partners within the mobility segment. Together, we will create seamless and easily accessible transportation possibilities for all travellers without the burden of owning a car.”
What do you hope to see in terms of focus elements with the candidates of the Fleet Europe Awards this year?
“As usual, I hope for well-founded successes beyond concepts and visions. I am sure that the winners of the respective categories will already be able to demonstrate initial implementation successes and will also be able to back these up with figures. The number of applications we have received is enormous and contains a great potential, ranging from smaller, regional applicants to multinational corporations. I am therefore convinced that we will see some exciting successes!”